September 8th, 2010 09:34 EST
What Pet-Dumpers and Corporate Bottom-Liners Share
Summer people abandon kittens and pups
A friend who for many years owned a country store in the mid-Hudson Valley tells us that come every Labor Day young cats and dogs are dumped along remote roads by people returning to the city after a summer in the country.
We called her when five beautiful, well-groomed yellow kittens about a month old and their mother showed up at our place and hung around for a day or two. They left as we were trying to figure out whether they still had a home. Our friend told us certain remote secondary roads are familiar dump sites for hapless creatures who have outlived their usefulness in the eyes of their abandoners.
Apparently this is a well known tragedy to local people. There are animal rescue services throughout the valley. There are private shelters. There are newspapers and penny-savers to advertise in. But some people, after feeding and caring for these fellow creatures and enjoying their companionship for a summer, simply leave them to their fate instead of taking them to a shelter or finding them a home.
The pups and kittens are easy prey for hawks, coyotes and other predators.
What kind of people, my wife and I asked ourselves, would do this? How could their children, witnessing such callousness, ever trust such parents again? Haven`t they demonstrated there is no parenthood in them? What if I were a child witnessing my parents commit this crime? Would I decide it was acceptable behavior? Would I ever trust them again? Would I grow up mean-spirited towards people less fortunate?
These summer people view life itself as expendable. If they would throw away these helpless beings who wouldn`t they throw away? Spouses, children, nannies, maids, janitors? They are demonstrably untrustworthy. Any life not as important as their own is disposable. They can be expected to start wars, to get other people`s children killed, to mistreat employees, to screw clients. They don`t believe life is sacred. They don`t believe trust should be rewarded. They are pillagers "and their children know it.
How very like they are to corporate bottom-liners who feel no responsibility to wage earners while they themselves are paid handsome salaries and bonuses?
Those kittens and pups have a lot in common with our returning veterans who are ill-treated, neglected and betrayed. We waved flags and sent them to war, but now that they are home and damaged and needy they are deemed a tax burden too heavy to endure. Never mind what they have endured. They have a lot in common with millions of workers laid off while the people who laid them off vacation in Europe and collect their bonuses "and rant about high taxes and too much government and creeping socialism while declining to spare a few crumbs off their tables.
Every day people chuck fast food containers on other people`s property, on public highways and in parks. And now it seems some people chuck living creatures out onto the roads as well. Labor Day is the perfect day to consider this horror. Those kittens and pups labored mightily to please vacationers, and what did they get for their labors? What lesson must we take from this callousness?
Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.
His book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. His poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, poemeleon, The Same, and other journals. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com